A. R. T.
Balka is one of Poland’s most prominent artists today, with an artistic vocabulary that resounds with the arid melancholy of the post-Cold War landscape. Working with steel, cement, salt, foam rubber and felt, Balka focuses our attention on the elemental origins of his materials while also emphasizing the human labor required to transform those elements into cultural objects. His sculptures and sculptural installations reflect the precariousness of humanity within the rubble and dirt of earthly existence. Designed in collaboration with the artist, this catalogue documents his 1992 exhibition at The Renaissance Society and the List Visual Arts Center at MIT, his North American museum debut. Peter Schjeldahl’s eloquent essay recounts his experience of meeting the artist in Poland, capturing the harshness and poetry of Balka’s living environment, while Julian Heynen’s essay outlines the material significance and subtlety of his sculptures.